Saturday, February 28, 2015

Making Storage Beautiful - Pt. 4: To Seal or Not to Seal...

...that is the question!

Welcome to this fourth post on creating pattern storage boxes.  I shared with you in an earlier post that I've tried a variety of storage methods for my pattern collection, and I honestly feel the current method I've employed is working the best for me.  The boxes I'm creating are very sturdy and durable while protecting my patterns from dust and light exposure, and will coordinate beautifully with my Sewing Room's planned decor.

The one annoying issue I sometimes encounter is Mod Podge, when used as a sealer, sometimes leaves the sealed surface "tacky".  This is something the manufacturer acknowledges and recommends a resolution in the first paragraph on its packaging.

As a result, I have to slide my finger under the lid edges to separate it from the base so I can lift the lid without tearing any of the fused paper.  I've found this out the hard way.

Despite this - annoyance - I staunchly hold to my recommendation of using Mod Podge brand glue for this project, and this video will illustrate why.

The curious thing is I've had the tackiness problem with just a few of the boxes I've made so far, but it's been annoying enough for me to consider taking steps to eliminate it.  So, during construction of this box, I thought I'd try using polyurethane to protect and seal the designed surface and minimize (if not eliminate) the tackiness.

I thought it would be easiest to apply the poly on the box sections while they were still flat.

One thing I want to point out is the "shadowing" you may see from from the carton's original surface.  Depending on your paper's design, it may be decorative enough to camouflage these images.  As you can from my box side panel, my paper design allows the shadowed image to appear.

Since these images are inconspicuous while the boxes are sitting on a shelf, I've chosen to live with it.  If this proves to be distracting for you, I recommend applying your decorative papers to the carton's interior surface instead of its exterior.  This means the carton's original artwork will appear on your box's interior panels.

I applied a thin layer of polyurethane to each section with my foam roller and allowed them to dry.

before and after poly application

I like the sheen the polyurethane gave each section's surface. However, I did notice some wrinkling, or "bubbling", in some spots on the box surface.  This particular poly brand is water-based and apparently affected the box's paper surface.

I thought about trying to press out the bubbles with my iron and parchment paper, but I was concerned the surface would further distort.  So, I opted to live with it, especially since I'm the only one who will notice the "defect" on the completed unit.

I think I would still like to seal the box surface; I just have to find a product that won't affect the surface appearance - and will not chase me out of the room due to the overwhelming fumes!

Be blessed!



  1. You've been really busy and your boxes look beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Faye...I so appreciate the kind words.

  2. These are gorgeous - you are going to love your new sewing room :)

    1. Thank you Sarah Liz. I sure am counting on it.

  3. Very nice! You'll have these beautiful boxes for quite a long time!